AUBG Students Win at Microsoft Imagine Cup Bulgaria 2015

July 30, 2015

Four AUBG computer science students were selected to take part in the Games category of Microsoft Imagine Cup 2015, the world’s biggest student technology competition. More than that -- they won the Bulgarian National Finals and reached the world semifinals.

Rocket Bots, the Games team that impressed the jury in Bulgaria the most, consisted of AUBG students Gavril Tonev, programmer and team leader, Denis Iliev, 3D modeling, Oleh Stolyar, programmer and user interface, Dechko Dechkov, programmer, and their mentor Teodor Marinov from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, Sofia.

Brainstorming a proposal that is both viable and exciting, Stolyar and Tonev came up with the idea for the “Train Your Robot” game. Rocket Bots introduced a project for a game that enables players to build and train their own virtual robots and challenge the other players’ models.

“We wanted to create something that would help young people learn coding and entertain them along the way,” Tonev said. “That is when we figured out that we can use mobile devices and games in order to reach children around the world and introduce them to the marvelous world of programming, or at least allow them to make their first steps towards its exploration.”

The combination of motivation, creativity and effective teamwork is what helped Rocket Bots top the competition, Tonev said. The Microsoft Imagine Cup was not only an opportunity for the AUBGers to use their strengths but also a chance for them to upgrade their knowledge.

“Thanks to Microsoft Imagine Cup, we gained further insight into what it is like to work on a real video game project,” Tonev said. “As we had high expectations from ourselves, Imagine Cup showed us how to manage and prioritize our ideas and time efficiently, in order to achieve the best we could.”

Tonev also recognized the role AUBG played in their successful performance. 

“It is doubtful that we could have ever realized our ideas without having the sound foundation we received from AUBG,” he said. “I believe that the most valuable lesson we took from AUBG is that at the end of the competition, we knew exactly how to analyze the mistakes we made while working and make sure that we learn from them, so that we can grow and build on top of our flaws for any future endeavors.”

Rocket Bots was not the only team that represented AUBG at the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2015. AUBG students Kristo Prifti, Sindi Shkodrani, Aurel Roci and Marlind Maksuti were also selected for the National Finals in the category Citizenship. The four students presented a software solution that helps rescue teams find people during natural disasters by sending a drone to patrol the affected area and to localize smartphones.

While their team did not reach the world semifinals, the “project was appreciated from the jury and got a high interest from the audience,” Shkodrani said.

Raya Yunakova, Startup audience marketing manager at Microsoft Bulgaria, has been observing AUBG students’ participation in Microsoft Imagine Cup since 2012. “Students from AUBG have always impressed not only with great ideas, that have the potential to massively change the way we live, but also with the quality of work they put into the execution of their projects,” she said. “The combination of the two results in high quality entries to the competition that often win them the trophies in their respective categories. With the passion I see in these young innovators, I have no doubt that in one way or another they will significantly influence our future.”

Story by Dimana Doneva
Photo Courtesy of Microsoft Bulgaria

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